Donald Trump and Joe Biden at the second presidential debate (Image: EPA/Shawn Thew)

Here are three things that happened this week.

  1. A major political news story involving the US president's lawyer had to run with a disclaimer that it contained spoilers for the new Borat movie.
  2. One of the largest military bases in the world became the latest in a long line of victims of an incredibly specific hack when its Twitter account interacted with sexually explicit images. Would you believe, it was later revealed to have been caused by a horny and careless employee.
  3. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett's connection to a Catholic sect called People of Praise led to (false) rumours that its severely patriarchal views had been the basis for The Handmaid's Tale.

This is the America -- febrile, conspiratorial, farcical, sinister -- that Donald Trump and Joe Biden were fighting to lead as they met today in Tennessee. Trump by no means created this America, but he inarguably raked these elements to the surface.

After the first debate -- an exhausting and depressing affair, filled with hectoring and interjections from Trump and featuring a performance from Biden that looked every bit as tired as the rest of us felt -- it was announced that the candidates' microphones would be muted when they are not directly being asked a question.